Gifts and Bequests

Gifts and Bequests

Bequests such as James Donald's in 1905 were of more significance than the early purchases. Donald was a local chemical manufacturer and his bequest included paintings which formed the foundation of the Gallery’s Impressionist collection.

The major acquisition of this period was shipping magnet Sir William Burrell’s gift of 48 paintings and drawings in 1925. Included were 23 by important French artists of the Realist and Modern schools.

Another significant gift was the Hamilton Bequest of 1927. This was the combined estates of the late storekeeper John Hamilton and his two sisters, Elizabeth and Christina. They gave a sum of money solely for the purchase of oil paintings for Kelvingrove. The fund is still administered by the Hamilton Trustees today and has presented some 80 paintings to the gallery.

William McInnes (1868-1944), a Glasgow ship owner, later bequeathed his art collection to the City. It included paintings, drawings, prints, silver, ceramics and glass. Included in this bequest were 33 of our most important French paintings. McInnes was also known for his efforts to champion the work of the Glasgow Boys and the Scottish Colourists, with both groups now presented in their own galleries at Kelvingrove.

The great art event of wartime was the gift in 1944 by Sir William and Lady Burrell of their fabulous collection. This was followed by a sum of money to build a gallery for its display. It is one of the greatest collections ever created by one person, comprising over 8,000 objects. Burrell's collection includes work by artists such as Rodin, Degas and Cézanne, as well as important examples of late medieval art, Chinese and Islamic art, objects from ancient civilizations and much more. The Burrell Collection building was constructed in Pollok Park to house the collection, opening in 1983. The building is now recognised as architecturally significant and recently achieved A-list status.

Glasgow Life Logo